The trouble with AI

Recently the FBI raided Cortland Management in regards to a nation wide rent price fixing scam of more than 80% of all rental units in the city of Atlanta, USA. The news broke about a week ago in early June of the raid that happened on 22 May 2024. In short the company offered AI technology to landlords to predict the highest amount landlords could get away with charging tenants. Amidst a world wide housing crisis and cost of living crisis, this is atrocious. The FBI raided the property management company based on anti-trust law suit.


In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, Cortland said, “We can confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a limited search warrant at our Atlanta office as part of an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice into potential antitrust violations in the multifamily housing industry.”


Many websites or podcasts reporting on this, are not news sites, either technology or investment websites. Housing has been of particular interest for individual and corporate investors, often gauging first time buyers out of the housing market. Housing is a basic human right, and therefore in my opinion should only build wealth for those actually utilizing the properties. But before I digress. The use of AI. After ruminating on this scandal/use of technology. Technology was supposed to help lighten our loads as worker, not be used to exploit as many people for as much as possible. And yet, with this raid as in so many other ways, we see AI being used as wealth extraction tool. 


So to come back to the raid and AI. Why is AI be used for wealth extraction, instead of alleviating us from basic tasks, so we can as human enjoy and create a full life with strong human connections, physical and creative outlet. So in this experiment, I thought I would consult AI to keep myself in check. Instead of asking AI how can I sell the maximum amount of art for the most prices. I asked it, am I, an Art Historian, a gallery owner, an expert, a salesperson, but also just a human, actually doing a good job at the prices I am setting and the work I am doing. Can AI also be used to hold us accountable?


So the parameters of the experiment.

I first asked AI if according to the data you can read on the website if the paintings being sold at the current price point are they realistic. After I inputted all the data available on each artwork by me, the artist and other institutions, this is the analysis AI did of a sampled artwork by the artist at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone which I will present here below. 

AI recommended prices 

AI Appraising Art at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone

Here we gave AI the prompt: "Dear AI, can you become an art appraiser and please make a realistic price for the following painting" followed by the information of an artwork and all that has been written about it on our website and about the artist. In short everything visitors to the Gallery can also read about the painting and the artist.

Sketch of Seeds | Adéle du Plessis | Egg Tempera on Canvas | 60 x 50cm | Framed

Detailed Analysis "Sketch of Seeds" by artist Adéle du Plessis painted with Egg Tempera on Canvas of 60 x 50cm. 

  1. Artist's Reputation and Background: Adéle du Plessis has a significant background and experience, spanning over 30 years, and her works are in private collections worldwide. Her rebellious, nonconformist style and the philosophical undertones of her works add to her allure as an artist.

  2. Artistic Style and Technique: The painting is part of her series "Drawn at Home," and it utilizes tempera on canvas to mimic the effect of monochrome pencil sketches. This unique blending of mediums, along with the playful jab at Plato's Mimesis theory, makes the artwork intellectually stimulating and visually appealing.

  3. Size and Medium: The painting measures 50cm x 40cm. Tempera on canvas is a traditional medium, known for its durability and vibrant color retention, which adds value.

  4. Market Trends and Comparables: Current market trends for contemporary South African artists and those living abroad, especially in Europe, where Adéle currently resides, can influence the pricing. Works by artists with similar backgrounds and styles are often referenced to gauge market value.

  5. Current Listing Price: The painting is currently listed at 1,000 euros. This price provides a baseline but needs to be assessed if it's reflective of the current market value.

Given the provided information and considering the art market context, a realistic price for "Sketch of Seeds" by Adéle du Plessis can be established. Considering her extensive experience, unique artistic style, philosophical engagement in her work, and the international private collections holding her work, the current listing price of 1,000 euros appears reasonable. However, if we factor in the increasing recognition and possible market trends, the price might be on the conservative side.

Suggested Price Range

Given these factors, a fair market price range for "Sketch of Seeds" could be between 1,000 to 1,500 euros. This range accommodates both the current listing and the potential for slight appreciation given her distinctive style and increasing recognition.

Riding the Waves | Fiona J. Williams | Acrylic on Canvas | 91 x 61cm | Unframed

Detailed Analysis of "Riding the Waves" by artist Fiona J. Williams with Acrylic on Canvas, sized 91 x 61cm

  1. Artist's Reputation and Background:

    • Heritage and Influence: Fiona J. Williams's Jamaican heritage and British upbringing add depth to her work, providing a rich cultural context that resonates with diverse audiences.
    • Professional Background: Her experience in textile design and work with interiors and antique textiles bring a unique perspective to her paintings, incorporating clear lines and stark contrasts.
    • Artistic Focus: Fiona's exploration of identity and the human condition through contemporary expressionism and her ability to capture intense emotions in her portraits are significant strengths. Her reluctance to be pigeonholed into a single style allows for versatility and innovation in her work.
    • Exhibitions: Fiona has had several exhibitions, including a solo exhibition in 2020 and multiple group exhibitions in 2019. This exhibition history demonstrates active engagement with the art community and provides visibility and credibility.
  2. Artistic Style and Technique:

    • Expressionism: As a contemporary expressionist, Fiona's work builds on the intuitive, emotive style of early 20th-century expressionism. Her focus on gestural brushstrokes and capturing the inner emotional lives of her subjects aligns with this tradition.
    • Acrylic on Canvas: Acrylic is a versatile and widely respected medium. The size of 91cm x 60cm is substantial, offering a commanding presence.
  3. Market Trends and Comparables:

    • Contemporary Expressionist Art: The market for contemporary expressionist art is robust, with collectors often seeking works that provide emotional depth and innovative techniques.
    • Comparable Artists: Prices for works by artists with similar backgrounds and styles can provide benchmarks. Researching sales of comparable works by contemporary expressionists, especially those with similar exhibition histories, can help gauge the value.
  4. Current Listing Price:

    • €2,500: This price reflects a mid-to-upper range for contemporary works of this size and medium, especially for artists with a moderate to growing reputation.

Suggested Price Range

Considering Fiona J. Williams's background, exhibition history, and the qualities of "Riding the Waves," the current listing price of €2,500 appears appropriate. However, given her increasing visibility and the emotional and technical depth of her work, the painting might justify a slightly higher price.


Given these considerations, the price of €2,500 is reasonable and potentially on the conservative side. If Fiona's recognition continues to grow, her works may appreciate in value, suggesting a possible future price range of €2,500 to €3,500 for similar pieces. This allows for current market conditions while anticipating her continued rise in the contemporary art scene.

Left Behind XI | Marko Klomp | Oil on Linen | 120 x 100 cm | Unframed

Detailed Analysis of "Left Behind XI" by artist Marko Klomp with Oil on Linen, sized 120 x 100 cm.


    1. Artist's Reputation and Background:

      • Professional Background: Marko Klomp is a well-established artist with over 20 years of experience since his graduation in 1998 from St Joost in Breda. His distinctive "soft focus" style and professional career are significant factors in valuing his work.
      • Exhibitions and Media Presence: Klomp has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, especially in notable venues like Pulchri Studio in The Hague. His media appearances and jury roles for art competitions further bolster his reputation.
      • Collector Base: His work is collected internationally, including by private collectors in Canada, The Netherlands, and South Africa.
    2. Artistic Style and Technique:

      • "Soft Focus" Style: Klomp's hyper-realistic yet unfocused painting style is unique and memorable. This technique creates a dreamlike, ambiguous quality that engages viewers and adapts to their mood and environment.
      • Subject Matter: "Left Behind IX" features a bird of prey against a vast blue sky, capturing themes of isolation, freedom, and hope. This subject is poignant and resonates with viewers on a symbolic level.
      • Technique and Medium: Oil on linen is a prestigious and durable medium, and the large size (120cm x 100cm) of the painting adds to its impact and value.
    3. Market Trends and Comparables:

      • Wildlife and Cloud Painting: The niche of wildlife and cloud paintings, especially those with a hyper-realistic style, has a dedicated collector base.
      • Comparable Artists: Comparing Klomp's prices with similar contemporary artists in the wildlife and landscape genres can help establish a benchmark.
    4. Current Listing Price:

      • The painting is listed at €5,000. This price reflects Klomp's established career, distinctive style, and the painting's size and medium.


    Given these considerations, the price of €5,000 is justified and aligns with current market conditions. If Klomp's visibility continues to grow through exhibitions and media. His works may appreciate further, suggesting a future price range of €5,000 to €7,000 for similar pieces, reflecting his continued rise and the unique appeal of his "soft focus" style.

    Royal | Negar Rashidi | Delft Blue Oysters | 40cm x 30cm (with frame 50cm x 43cm)

    Detailed Analysis of "Royal" by Negar Rashidi a painted Delft Blue Oysters on a black 40cm x 30cm canvas (with frame 50cm x 43cm)

    1. Artist's Reputation and Background:

      • Professional Background: Negar Rashidi, born in 1986, is an Iranian fine art painter currently based in the Netherlands. Her unique approach of painting on raw organic materials like oyster shells sets her apart in the contemporary art scene.
      • Exhibitions and Recognition: Rashidi's works have garnered attention for their intricate detail and cultural hybridity. Her use of Delft Blue, combined with ancient Persian miniature techniques, creates a distinct and recognizable style.
    2. Artistic Style and Technique:

      • Baroque Influence: The combination of Baroque grandeur and detailed miniature painting on oyster shells is a unique artistic endeavor. The use of Baroque frames adds to the opulent presentation, enhancing the value of the piece.
      • Materials and Medium: The use of glass paint on oyster shells is an innovative technique. The choice of natural, discarded shells juxtaposed with intricate painting elevates the artwork, highlighting themes of conservation and opulence.
      • Cultural Hybridity: Rashidi's work embodies a blend of Persian and Dutch cultural elements. This fusion is not only aesthetically pleasing but also rich in historical and cultural significance.
    3. Subject Matter and Composition:

      • Visual Impact: "Royal" features the refined elegance of Delft Blue designs, meticulously painted on oyster shells. The framing in Baroque style further accentuates the luxurious and historical feel of the piece.
      • Emotional and Symbolic Depth: The artwork captures the resilience and strength of Iranian culture amidst ongoing political struggles. The Baroque elements symbolize grandeur and power, while the use of shells signifies nature and the environment.
    4. Market Trends and Comparables:

      • Unique Medium: Artworks utilizing unconventional materials like oyster shells often attract collectors looking for unique and innovative pieces.
      • Comparable Artists: Evaluating the market for similar artists who combine cultural elements and unconventional materials can help establish a fair price. Artists working in mixed media with a focus on cultural hybridity and fine detail are particularly relevant.
    5. Current Listing Price:

      • The painting is listed at €2,250. Considering the unique medium, detailed technique, and cultural significance, this price reflects a reasonable market value for Rashidi's work.

    Suggested Price Range

    Considering Rashidi's unique artistic approach, the detailed craftsmanship, and the historical and cultural richness of "Royal," the current listing price of €2,250 is justified. The uniqueness of painting on oyster shells, combined with the Baroque influence, enhances the piece's value.

    Aegidiusstraat Rotterdam | Thea van Doorn | Figurative Painting | Acrylic on Canvas | 100 x 120cm

    Detailed Analysis of "Aegidiusstraat Rotterdam" by artist Thea van Doorn is a Figurative Painting made with Acrylic on Canvas, sized 100 x 120cm:

    1. Artist's Reputation and Background:

      • Professional Background: Thea van Doorn is a prominent contemporary painter based in Rotterdam. Her career spans over five decades, starting from her acceptance into the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam in 1968 without a high school diploma but with a remarkable portfolio of drawings.
      • Exhibitions and Recognition: Van Doorn has a significant exhibition history, including solo and group exhibitions at notable venues such as the WTC Gallery Rotterdam, North Sea Jazz in Rotterdam, and international exhibitions. Her works have been collected by private collectors for over 40 years.
    2. Artistic Style and Technique:

      • Expressionism: Van Doorn's work is characterized by her expressionist style, marked by bold colors, strong outlines, and a playful use of perspective. Her technique involves acrylic on canvas, creating vibrant and engaging compositions.
      • Intuitive Process: Van Doorn often works intuitively, capturing everyday scenes with a unique twist. Her paintings feature simplified forms and a limited color palette, establishing a distinctive pictorial space.
    3. Subject Matter and Composition:

      • Interior Scene: "Aegidiusstraat Rotterdam" depicts a lively interior scene of a well-decorated living room, likely inspired by the Aegidiusstraat in the Kralingen-Crooswijk district of Rotterdam. The composition includes various elements like plants, furniture, and a dog, creating a snapshot of a vibrant home.
      • Color and Form: The painting utilizes a harmonious color scheme of blues and browns, creating warmth and inviting space. The use of simplified forms and a two-dimensional perspective adds to the playful arrangement of the scene.
    4. Market Trends and Comparables:

      • Expressionist Paintings: Expressionist works that capture everyday moments with bold colors and unique perspectives are highly valued. Artists with a distinctive style and a substantial exhibition history, like Van Doorn, often have a dedicated following.
      • Comparable Artists: Comparing prices of works by similar contemporary expressionist artists who focus on interior scenes can help determine a fair valuation.
    5. Current Listing Price:

      • The painting is listed at €7,392. Given Van Doorn's extensive career, unique style, and the large size of the painting (100cm x 120cm), this price reflects a reasonable market value for her work.

    Suggested Price Range

    Considering Van Doorn's established reputation, the detailed craftsmanship, and the vibrant expressionist style of "Aegidiusstraat Rotterdam," the current listing price of €7,392 is justified. The large size of the painting and the lively depiction of an interior scene add to its value.

    Follow up recommendations

    At the end of each analysis we got a prompt to input more data on auction or galley sales on similar artwork or artists. As well as to monitor price demand at art fairs. What this tells me is that I need to  ad context that there is a cost of living crisis as well as a recession to this data as well as 5 years of art sales data from our own accounting. I will also add the art market reports from Art Basel and UBS market reports for 2023 and 2024. As well as from TEFAF,  The Art Market Report from the Art Newspaper. With this added input I will reassess each of the artwork to see if we should lower or keep the prices stable. 


    AI and the ethics of AI is dependant on us as the user. We can use it to exploit, but we can also use it to hold ourselves accountable. It is in the way we use it. As for the results of AI in my little experiment, I do believe this is biased, as it's my AI account. It has taken in data from previous inputs. Like with helping me organize my thoughts on different topics and articles on art pricing, value, the work I do and other art historians. According to the data I provide on the website, AI says I am asking a fair price for the art at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone, sometimes saying I am at the low end of the spectrum for art work. However, in the following article for next week I will be inputting live data of the current art market reports and our sales data of the last 5 years. Then we will see how these same paintings are valued in a cost of living crisis and recession period when all these factors are taken into account, what will AI tell us then? These prices were calculated when there was still a strong economy and people were thriving despite the 2 month pandemic recession in 2020. 


    Let me know your thoughts.

    Tascha Sciarone is an Art Historian and Gallery Manager. This sort of article has been in my mind for a week now and finally when I got to sit down and write it, the school called for me to come pick up my sick 6 year old. Here is this imperfect, unedited thought experiment sent out into the world. Help my make it better with your thoughts and imput. Tell me what I got right and what I did wrong or what direction I can go in.

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